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View duffmankc's profile

Which table saw to buy - Steel City 35990c or Porter Cable PCB270TS

by duffmankc
posted 03-07-2011 06:12 PM


24 replies so far

View Bertha's profile

Bertha

12951 posts in 1378 days


#1 posted 03-07-2011 06:42 PM

the solid cast iron wings would be worth $140 to me but having heard mixed reviews on Steel City, I’ll leave the advice to experts below. Good luck! Al

-- My dad and I built a 65 chev pick up.I killed trannys in that thing for some reason-Hog

View duffmankc's profile

duffmankc

14 posts in 1323 days


#2 posted 03-07-2011 08:32 PM

I haven’t seen too many reviews/comments on Steel City. Sounds like they used to make saws for Ridgid or Craftsman and now are doing it under their own brand. Anyone else familiar with Steel City or their reputation?

View BTKS's profile

BTKS

1971 posts in 2150 days


#3 posted 03-07-2011 08:53 PM

I have a large SC table saw, 3hp 220, cast iron with 52 in to the right. The two times I’ve needed to call SC their tech help was helpful, knowledgeable and timely. The start switch went out and the tip of the arbor shaft chipped. SC immediately replaced both parts and they were easy to change out.
I used to buy PC routers and liked everything I used branded PC. They were bought out by Black and Decker. I’ve looked at the products they now make for the big box stores. To me, they look like warmed over cheap poorly made B and D products. I think they picked a few items to continue under the PC name but cheapened them to the point of being almost useless.
I also have an SC 14in granite top bandsaw. It has and continues to work great.
I have not used the PC table saw but I have looked at one in the store. I was not impressed! As far as the components for the saws, I think they all come out of the same Chinese factory but to different specs.
Like Bertha said. The solid cast is worth the difference. Mass is one of the key factors in making a good saw and dampening vibration.
So far, I’m happy with both my SC tools.
PS. I really cannot believe I waded into yet another table saw thread. This is almost as dangerous as arguing politics and religion at the same time. Every body has their own opinion. A TS is the center piece of almost every shop and you’ll be glad if you put a little extra into this critical tool.
Hope this helps. BTKS

-- "Man's ingenuity has outrun his intelligence" (Joseph Wood Krutch)

View Bertha's profile

Bertha

12951 posts in 1378 days


#4 posted 03-07-2011 08:54 PM

I heard the same story but the one I heard is that some were from Delta. As the story goes, they got sick of the problems associated with the larger makers & went off on their own. They started out with Table Saws & now have a pretty solid selection of your standard tools. They were the first to use granite tabletops, to the best of my knowledge. I was gung-ho Steel City until I heard bad things from respected people. I love the LOOK of their machines, for what that’s worth :)

-- My dad and I built a 65 chev pick up.I killed trannys in that thing for some reason-Hog

View tommyt654's profile

tommyt654

122 posts in 2134 days


#5 posted 03-08-2011 06:50 AM

Considering Lowes now sells the SC Bandsaw you might want to see if they are also going to carry that tablesaw. But either way the SC is a far better tablesaw than the PC will ever be IMO:)

View terry staggs's profile

terry staggs

19 posts in 1322 days


#6 posted 03-08-2011 07:03 AM

Steel city is a knock off of delta. when delta was sold . some of the top guys left and went to china to use delta as the proto type and start up.( info from trade show) mi opinion is all the new stuff is junk. if you have never owned a saw you might not know the difference. my opinion is use you money to buy a good older saw. it will be money well spent.

-- terrystaggs@gmaiil.com

View jdon88's profile

jdon88

19 posts in 1338 days


#7 posted 03-08-2011 08:44 AM

I’m looking around for a good older saw instead of a new one. How old should it be? 5 years, 10 years? Is there an age to be avoided as in too old?

View pintodeluxe's profile

pintodeluxe

3441 posts in 1499 days


#8 posted 03-08-2011 09:14 AM

I had a Hitachi Hybrid Saw, and didn’t care for it. Then I noticed the same saw branded as Porter Cable at Lowes. That makes me very nervous because it tells me Porter Cable had nothing to do with the design or engineering of the saw.
My hitachi adjustment wheels broke off (both of them), and the frame was flimsy and bent under normal usage in a shop setting.
My advise: shop for a used Jet. I have the gold series contractors saw with cast iron wings and the Xacta II fence, and I love it.

-- Willie, Washington "If You Choose Not To Decide, You Still Have Made a Choice" - Rush

View knotscott's profile

knotscott

5512 posts in 2061 days


#9 posted 03-08-2011 12:06 PM

The guys who founded Steel City did indeed have some history with Delta (and others), but AFAIK, they’ve since left Steel City. I’ve heard that one of them (I think Scott Box) is involved with General International.

While the Steel City industrial cabinet saw is modeled after the Delta Unisaw, like most other North American style industrial cabinet saws, the hybrid and contractor saws are very different than those from Delta. The 35990 is a departure from their other well proven hybrids like the former Craftsman 22124, current Cman 22116, former Ridgid R4511, and Steel City 35925. Like most tools in today’s market, it’s tough to draw conclusions from other tools carrying the same logo. I know they’re were some issues with the 35990 that were documented here, but I’ve read other positives about the same saw, so its hard to know if the issues we read about were just isolated incidents. It looks like a nice saw for the money, but IMO more field testing is needed before I’d get a “warm fuzzy” feeling about buying one.

-- Happiness is like wetting your pants...everyone can see it, but only you can feel the warmth....

View crank49's profile

crank49

3456 posts in 1656 days


#10 posted 03-08-2011 01:03 PM

I can’t speak of the SC saw; no experience wih it. I did look at the PC saw a year ago. I liked the saw till I checked out the fence. The fence on the one I checked out was not good at all. I wound up with a Craftsman hybrid, model 21833, which was about the same price, ~$450 including tax and discounts. I think the new Ridgid 4512, replacement for the Granit top 4511, is the same saw as the Craftsman with different paint. I really like the Craftsman, but I have seen on here where some folks have had problems with alignment issues with its trunnion. Bottom line, I wish I had not been so concerned with getting a saw for less than $500 to stay within my budget. Like I said before, I’m happy with the Craftsman, but I know it’s right on the thin edge of just acceptable quality. For such an important tool I would feel a lot better if I had some extra beef in there.

Be sure to take a close look at the fence on that PC saw. Lock it down then grab it with your hand and give it a twist. You will see that you can easily twist it out of plumb, in the vertical plane, by a few degrees.

-- Michael :-{| “If you tell a big enough lie and tell it frequently enough, it will be believed.” ― A H

View Howie's profile

Howie

2656 posts in 1608 days


#11 posted 03-08-2011 02:36 PM

First saw…find you a well taken care of Ridgid 3650 and buy a good blade.

-- Life is good.

View mrg's profile

mrg

524 posts in 1685 days


#12 posted 03-08-2011 03:33 PM

I was at the Woodworkers show 2 weeks ago and spoke with a rep from Delta and had asked about the PC saw and he told me that it is built for the big box stores. He said that the store says we want a saw at this price and they build to that. He said he would not recommend the saw. Not up to par with what it should be.

The conversation came about after me asking about the saw and if it was the replacement for the contractor saw, and also because it was in the Delta woodworking tools.

-- mrg

View reedwood's profile

reedwood

884 posts in 1361 days


#13 posted 03-08-2011 03:54 PM

All my table tools are Delta x5. A budget for a tool based on money in your pocket won’t get you a good saw or table tool. I would consider waiting until you have more money. You will probably own this saw for the duratiuon of your carrer. It’s the most used and the most important table tool in your shop.

My first saw was a used crapsman on flimsy legs and wheels. Then I bought a 500.00 Delta Contractors saw with a unifence on a roller stand and wired it for 220. Nice saw.

It took awhile but I finally coughed up 1100.00 on sale, for the Delta X5 with a 50” Biesemeyer fence, an extension table, and a roller stand. Awesome machine. I wish I made my own outfeed table. The Delta table could be better but it works.

I don’t know how much room you have but it sounds like this saw will be stationary.
Go big, go for cast iron weight, 220 power, a roller stand, 50” capacity, and buy the fence you want now. Why own 2 fences?

Sounds like you need to save more money. No regrets.

-- Mark - I prefer the tumult of liberty to the quiet of servitude.

View NathanAllen's profile

NathanAllen

376 posts in 1830 days


#14 posted 03-08-2011 05:47 PM

Here a distinction mostly missing from power-tool discussions; Brand does not equal manufacturer

Steel City, Delta, GI, Craftsman, Jet, DeWalt, Grizzly and others are brands that purchase from a manufacturer; similar to a private/White label but without an exclusivity agreement.

As far as I know the only truly unique private label arangement is with SawStop; based on an exclusive manufacturing agreement tied to the technology.

The Steel City 35990c looks like the successor to the Granite top 3/4 to full cabinet SC, Ridgid, Craftsman, GI model that is fairly well respected for a budget saw. I’m assuming the fence, trunions, motor, and gear assembly are similar if not identical; all of them very functional; if not in the same category as a full cabinet saw.

The PC is the sucessor to the Hitachi brand saw sold by Lowes without much success for several years. It’s an okay saw; however, there are some limitations immediatly evident. Even if you wanted to upgrade to cast wings to throw some weight over the saw they simply aren’t available. The fence is custom and may not be exchangable for after-market models, etc.

I’d suggest a good look at Grizzly’s offerings to compare to the SC Saw and Sears/Home Depot version of their new contractor saw to compare against the PC. Set two tiers; $600-$800 or $400-$500. Depending on how long you want to use the saw before you upgrade, portability, etc.

And as above; keep an eye on Craigslist for a steal sale. Chicagoland this week very briefly had a PM available for less than $1,000.

View duffmankc's profile

duffmankc

14 posts in 1323 days


#15 posted 03-08-2011 06:26 PM

So, its soundling like the PC isn’t a very good saw. For the SC, seems like its getting some mixed comments. What are some of the things that you guys have heard about SC?
Are their any other new saws around the 500-600 price range that you would recommend instead?

Also, I have thought about looking for a used saw, but it looks like all of the old saws are equipped with a spliiter instead of a riving knife. How important is the difference? I’ll be making non-through cuts on the saw that I buy, and its sounds like its a pain in the butt to remove and replace a splitter and realign it with the blade.
Thanks for all the help.

View knotscott's profile

knotscott

5512 posts in 2061 days


#16 posted 03-08-2011 06:39 PM

New full size saws in the $500-$600 would include the Ridgid R4512 and nearly identical Craftsman 21833. I can’t say from experience that any of them, or the PC, are good or bad saws, but in this price range, most of the new saws give up something that’s desirable to hit the price point …none are ideal, but I think they are all capable of good service once tuned up and fitted with a good blade. Some have nicer wings, nicer fence, nicer wheels, etc., but none have all of the “good stuff” in one package. Typically, the more you spend, the more good stuff you get. If a good used saw isn’t to be found, or doesn’t appeal to you, I’d go with whichever of the new saws best suits your needs and wants.

Traditional splitters and riving knives essentially accomplish the same thing…a riving knife is really just a “better mouse trap”. The single biggest advantage of most riving knives is that they’re less cumbersome, so are more likely to be in place to do their job when needed. I prefer a riving knife but would not put too much of a premium on it….a good splitter is capable of doing the job too, so it’s not something that would nix an otherwise nice deal on a good saw. There is an aftermarket riving knife called the BORK that fits several older style saws…I’ve had one on my saw since 2008.

-- Happiness is like wetting your pants...everyone can see it, but only you can feel the warmth....

View Rick  Dennington's profile

Rick Dennington

3467 posts in 1880 days


#17 posted 03-08-2011 06:48 PM

Personally, I wouldn’t buy either one of the saws you mentioned…..I’d save a little $$$ and get the “dream saw ” we all wanted at one time…...I’d get the Delta cabinet or the Powermatic PM2000 cabinet. Those will last you a lifetime. A lot of folks on here have the Grizzly cabinet, and they all swear by them.. I’m not a fan of Grizzly, but I heartell they are a pretty decent saw….... It’s just 6 of 1, and 1/2 dozen of the other…personal preference. I own a Delta X5 Unisaw, and am well satisfied, but that’s my oipnion only… you just have to choose for yourself…..contractor or cabinet?

-- " I started with nothing, and I've still got most of it left".......

View terry staggs's profile

terry staggs

19 posts in 1322 days


#18 posted 03-09-2011 04:06 AM

my personel preference is pm. i have used them since the late 70’s you cant tear these thing up. i have three 66 saws in my shop. we have 6 model 26 shapers and i wouldnt trade any of them. i tried some grizzly products and my opinion is if your not going to use it much it will do. i am in the process of changing every thing that is in my shop to pre 1990 pm. i can repair them and if any cast gets broken you can have it repaired. the new stuff cannot be repaired except by ordering new parts.

-- terrystaggs@gmaiil.com

View Resurrected's profile

Resurrected

671 posts in 1377 days


#19 posted 03-09-2011 04:53 AM

Rick Delta unisaw. Yeap I’d take that one (I’ll send you my address in a PM LOL) but I don’t have that pro Fish gupiesmans money. On the other hand the grizzly is nice. ( I like them after my first purchase) The delta is USA made big plus(right?). Grizzly China, porter Cable China, Steel City China. Um see my hate here. Come on how can US citizens compete 1 dollar a hour versus 30 a hour. We can complain but it is not going to change the fact we work in a free trade world and its killing us. China tools have improved in quality too everyone has to admit. Its not really fair. But US citizens got to realize you can’t get paid 30 a hour to build a saw. China beats us each time. I really hate this.

Here is a saw I’m looking at, but I can afford more and probably should wait for the unisaw.:)

http://www.grizzly.com/products/10-Hybrid-Tablesaw-with-Riving-Knife-Polar-Bear-Series/G0715P

-- Who can I block now???????????????????????

View Rick  Dennington's profile

Rick Dennington

3467 posts in 1880 days


#20 posted 03-09-2011 05:27 AM

Hey Resurrected,
I don’t have that guppiesmans money either…..I borrow it from my wife…..lol. Takes my $$ to pay the entry fees to these tournaments to try to get my entry back….I do like my Delta, though. I do understand and go along with what you are saying about the other products made in China, as most of us probably do. You just can’t compete with cheap labor….If you try, you will go in the hole…

I have nothing aganist Grizzly products… I just don’t care for them. Several years ago I had a couple of Grizzly machines, and they broke down and blew up on me…couldn’t get parts to fix them…none in the warehouse and none in China…I fifed them myself, sold them PDQ, and said never again..That’s been 24-25 years ago, but I’m sure they have made vast improvements today, but I’ll never find out…..I’ll stick with Delta.

-- " I started with nothing, and I've still got most of it left".......

View Resurrected's profile

Resurrected

671 posts in 1377 days


#21 posted 03-09-2011 06:30 AM

You do know most of delta is out of china right?Probably same company.

Really though I think all of us do the research before buying. We have to deal with this crap so might as well buy the best crap we can. Any tool over 200 dollars takes 6 months of research and debating for me. (Festool would never be a option) That will get them.

Before the cult goes blowing up yea I know their not made in china, but not US either. I guess the better of the two evils is to buy festool. (AHHHHHHHHHHHHH did I say that ) I’m unplugging.

-- Who can I block now???????????????????????

View duffmankc's profile

duffmankc

14 posts in 1323 days


#22 posted 03-17-2011 10:37 PM

Well, I’m off to buy the PC. Did some more research and people that own it seem to be generally satisfied with it. Plus, due to some extra discounts I can get today my cost is only going to be $395 + tax.
And thanks for all the comments guys. It would be nice to get a better saw that in the 800 – 1,000 range, but that just isn’t within the budget.
Now I just need to find a good blade…

View knotscott's profile

knotscott

5512 posts in 2061 days


#23 posted 03-17-2011 11:14 PM

Some good reasonably priced general purpose/combo blade choices to consider:
Infinity 010-150 Combomax (~ $60)
Freud LU86R010 ~ ($40)
CMT Orange 214.40.10 ( $40)
Ridgid Titanium R1050C (by Freud ~ $40)
Freud Diablo D1040 (~ $30)
Freud Diablo D1050 ( $35)
DeWalt DW7140PT (~ $31)
CMT P10050 ~ ($40)

-- Happiness is like wetting your pants...everyone can see it, but only you can feel the warmth....

View Luke's profile

Luke

241 posts in 1372 days


#24 posted 03-18-2011 01:15 AM

“First saw…find you a well taken care of Ridgid 3650 and buy a good blade.”

I was torn also between the PC270, and I had read that the pulley wheels had been made from plastic, I found a used Ridgid 3650, LOVE IT! I’ve inspected the PC 270 and didn’t like the fence system and the stamped wings but that’s my personal opinion.

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